Happy Valentines!

I don’t usually care about Valentine’s Day. Why? Maybe it stems from elementary school or something. I’m not really sure.

This Valentine’s week was extra special though. Last week, I got two cards in the mail. One from my mom with a gift card to Chili’s in it (thanks Mom!) and one from my sisters (thanks Sisters!). Then, on Tuesday, I won a giveaway on instagram (more on that later). Then, today, Martin took me to see the movie, Kingsman. It was really good. It’s worth seeing in theaters; I would suggest you go see it. He also bought me white roses, wine, and those iced sugar cookies that everyone hates to love. Those three things every woman needs in her life. My husband does such a good job. Right now, Martin has a cake cooking in the oven. My gift to him. Mathis even got to see his gf, Cressi, at the dog park today. I would say it has been a good Valentine’s this year.

Now to what I won…

As many of you know there are constant giveaways on instagram and luckily this week I won one! Needless to say, I was super pumped! It was a collaboration giveaway by these two sisters that I know back home, Casey Skinner and Lauren Burner. Recently, they opened Etsy shops. I was lucky enough to win two of Lauren’s crocheted mug cozies and and two “You’re my lobster” prints from Casey’s store. The phrase “you’re my lobster” is from a Friends episode. You know, Phoebe is always giving sound advice in her own kooky way.

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I love both things!! They are super cute and really good quality. I got two of each. I’m going to keep one set to myself but I’m going to be giving the other items away as belated V-day gifts. I will definitely be purchasing things from these shops again. Not only are the sisters darling but they have some really great things. I already have my eyes on a few things…

If you want to visit their shops, you can find them on Etsy. Casey’s shop is Love Me Sweet and Lauren’s is Shop Lauren D Burner. They also have instagram pages. Maybe you could win the next great thing from these lovely sisters!

Psalm 128:1-4

They have greatly oppressed me from my youth –
Let Israel say-

They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
but they have not gained the victory over me.

Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long.

But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.

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DIY Weekend

Yesterday, Martin and I rearranged our living room. We were inspired by my homemade blueberry muffins, the warmer weather, and Martin’s need to make room for his new studio equipment. We live in a one bedroom apartment so the living room has many functions that now includes a recording studio. We moved the place where we usually keep the dog’s leash and other knick knacks. I felt like I had to travel too far to get the pup’s lease so I decided we needed a coat rack. We had tried the 3M hooks without much luck and we had a bunch of pallet wood lying around. Plus, I thought to buy one would be just as expensive as making one. So instead of going to church, I went to the home improvement store and bought supplies. Here is the finished product.

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I had:
Pallet wood
Saw
Drill
Sawtooth picture hangers

I bought:
A sample of paint (I choose a minty blue)
Three hooks
A medium grit sandpaper block
A paint brush

Then I went home and got to work. I cut the board to 18″. I chose to leave the sides not completely straight. I sanded it. Then, painted the front and four sides; I didn’t bother with the back. I went to dinner and let it dry. I figured out where I wanted the hooks and pre-drilled holes. Then, I screwed the hooks in. I used a smaller screw then what came with the hooks because the other ones were too long. Use what works best for you. Finally, I nailed in the picture hangers on the back and put it on the wall. Super easy and it didn’t take too long at all. What did you do this weekend?

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First Anniversary

I was going to clump this into the previous post but I decided that Martin was special enough to get his own post.

While we were in SC, we celebrated our first anniversary. We didn’t do anything fancy. In fact, on the actual day we traveled to go see his family but we did get dressed up and went to Ru San’s in Charlotte and had amazing sushi and enjoyed a few moments to ourselves.

For those who haven’t seen them, I love our pictures. I feel like I should share some of my favorites.

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I couldn’t be happier marrying this man. He is my best friend and favorite person. I look forward to many more years with him. I can say that my first year of marriage has been magical, wonderful, and filled with love. I can’t wait for more adventures.

You can see the post written right after the ceremony here.

As the Whirlwind Subsides

WHEW! That was a busy month and a half.

For those who were wondering, my Thanksgiving meal was wonderful if i do say so myself. I did learn a few lessons about cooking for Thanksgiving. 1: The dressing was dry. It needed more broth or something. 2: Pumpkin pies take forever to cook.

Martin and I loaded up the pup and drove Christmas Eve night to SC following his church services. The drive was long but we made it in time to eat a delicious Christmas dinner with my folks and open presents on Christmas day. This year was the first year we hadn’t spent Christmas morning at our respected parents’ homes but I think it worked out the way we did it. I was thankful that my siblings were patient enough to wait until 7 pm to open their presents with us. It made the transition a little easier. We gallivanted around the state a few times to more family and friends then packed and headed by to Texas.The drive back seemed a little longer because we didn’t have delicious food, good company, and presents waiting for us. We’re back in town settling back into our routine.

Unfortunately, even though we went half-way across the country for Christmas, I’m itching for a new adventure. We’ll have to see what the husband and I can cook up before Spring because I don’t know if I can wait that long. Also, maybe just finding a new recipe would also help my need to do something different and let  me make it to Spring when we can go camping again and not freeze.

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The Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us and I am excited! The wintery weather here lately helps too. Although the pup doesn’t like it because he goes on like negative walks now because I don’t want to brave it more than I have to.

Well since the holiday season is upon us, I have started to plan what I’m going to cook for Thanksgiving and what I am going to buy for Christmas (also what I want) and it got me thinking about how materialistic the holidays make me.

This past summer I went back to SC for about a month a half. I flew southwest which gives you two free checked bags. I was able to bring a good amount of clothes but definitely a fraction of my normal closet. During this time, I realized how little I really needed to function on a day-to-day basis and never grow tired of wearing what I had. Granted I did get a few new pieces while I was there but nevertheless, I realized how much STUFF I had, not necessarily junk or bad clothes just STUFF. When I returned to TX, I silently vowed to lessen my wardrobe and try and not buy frivolous stuff. Getting rid of a few things and not buying anything unnecessary was pretty easy from August till about October then we went shopping for Martin’s birthday present and that all changed.

(Confession) I really like getting presents and I really like giving presents but I really like getting them.

So since I’ve set foot back into a mall, my stifled materialistic side has re-blossomed and it’s painful. I started writing my Christmas list before Thanksgiving (which I try not to do; one holiday at a time people) and I’ve started scouring the internet not for recipes or money saving tips, but for things that would make a basic girl giggle with glee. I have become ashamed. Therefore, I am not silently vowing this time but making a verbal (technically, a written??) proclamation that this year…

I will focus on being grateful.

I will focus on giving not getting.

This is my holiday vow.

The Start of a New Season

Whew! October was busy.

Football and volleyball seasons were in full swing. Therefore, work was nuts. Then, my professors were trying to crush me with the weight of the world. You know. All in a day’s work for the local graduate student.

Now, just a less stressful basketball season and a few more school assignments stand between me and the holidays and my last semester of grad school.

I guess you can say Fall is finally here (for me at least), the beginning of basketball, the cooler temperatures (aka less than 80), and the return of free time.

In my first week of freedom, Martin and I went out on a date to celebrate 5 years together. Mathis, Martin and I did some outdoor exploring on Saturday too. Martin and I also had time to watch a movie on Saturday night. WHAT?!

I also have started making seasonal dishes. I failed at making spaghetti squash (well everyone liked it except me). I almost screwed up a pumpkin dessert by putting too much sugar in it (it was a littleeee sweet but wasn’t terrible. It would be a great recipe if done right. HA). I also have been making numerous batches of 3 ingredient pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing because they’re so easy and delicious.

I am sure you have seen this pumpkin recipe on pinterest.

1 can of pumpkin

1 box of spice cake mix

1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce

Mix together and put in a greased muffin pan and bake at 350 for like 15ish minutes.

That’s it. Super simple. Martin loves these and I like to make cream cheese icing to make them less healthy. Although, they’ll blow you out of the water plain.

Well, I hope your fall is as relaxing as mine.

P.S. I’m excited about making my own thanksgiving meal this year since I won’t be heading home. Wish me the best of luck! Happy Fall!

The Best Pancake Recipe from the Internet

I ate these for breakfast this morning and was reminded how good they are.

I started looking for homemade pancake recipes one Saturday morning (don’t Saturday mornings scream for pancakes) when I was out of bisquick, poor, and too lazy to go to the store. I brainstormed that “Hey! I probably have all the ingredients I need to make pancakes from scratch!” because I had recently baked something (maybe it was the Cinnamon Chip Muffins) so I had plenty of supplies on hand. I then perused the internet and landed on this recipe. I would like to say I slaved away making hundreds of pancakes and this is the best pancake recipe to be found in the internet, but I did not.

I had two criteria to meet: 1: I already had the ingredients 2: The reviews said it was delicious. This recipe met both criteria.

I made them and MAN O’ MAN! THESE PANCAKES OUT SHINE BISQUIK ANY DAY AND MAYBE EVER OTHER PANCAKE RECIPE EVER.

I have nothing against bisquik (it’s convenient and delicious) but these pancakes were fluffy and buttery and wonderful. They might be, no, were the best at home pancakes I had ever made and frankly were better than some restaurants. Yeah, it takes a few more things to measure but its really not much more time consuming than bisquik anyway.

The sad thing is that I felt like a pioneer. I had just made a delicious food item from scratch (I have made other things from scratch before but I had planned those out. This was a spur of the moment decision). Sometimes, we forget in our world of processed and boxed foods that with just a little more time, the end result can be even more delicious and fulfilling and inexpensive.

Needless to say, I have never bought another box of bisquik again. Without farther adieu, here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of white sugar

1 1 /4 cup of milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons of butter, melted

Combine the dry ingredients and make a well in the center. Then pour in the wet ingredients. Stir or whisk the ingredients together till combined.

Heat a lightly oiled skillet or griddle to medium high heat and pour the desired sized pancakes onto the surface. Once bubbling, flip over. Once both sides are lightly browned and the middle is done, remove from skillet/griddle.

Top with desired toppings and ENJOY!

I usually can get about 12 smedium sized pancakes out of this recipe (I am unsure of what technically differentiates between small, medium, and large pancakes).

The original recipe can be found here.

Fitness Attire

Recently, I’ve read articles about women and their clothing. They were viral articles posted on Facebook or shared by other bloggers. Two camps exist:

1: Women can wear whatever they want as long as it makes them feel good. It doesn’t matter what men or anyone else thinks. i.e. the recent discussion about high-waisted shorts
2: Woman should be completely conscious of what they wear because it can be seen as a temptation or degrading to their husbands. i.e the debate about leggings

Everyone has their own opinions. I see value in both points of view but my one beef is with fitness women and how they portray themselves on social media. I follow several fitness accounts on IG and I find it rather degrading that the only way to show off you work out is with a itsy-bitsy bra on and spandex shorts riding up your butt. Don’t your muscles hidden under tight clothing say enough? What ever happened to tanks and leggings or tanks and shorts? At least cover up a little bit. It’s even worse when you find women like that prancing around the gym in sports bra and negative inseam spandex shorts in real life. It’s distracting. The gym is awkward enough. You’re hot and sweaty (usually), you might not have even showered, and every movement you do can basically be perceived as a sexual innuendo.

Sweat is not an excuse. (Let’s be real. Most of the time those dressed like this aren’t even sweating and have their hair down in the gym)

I’ve also found fitness accounts where women take shots of their body in this ensemble and their head is not in the picture. Doing this removes the personal aspect from it and objectifies the body. Yet, when a woman gets cat-called on the street she is offended?

It also does not help that “athleisure” is now a thing and that nike even uses barely clothed models (yes I still want to be one). Workout DVD’s are sold by how hot the body is on the front and that bodybuilding competitors are judged in speedos and bikinis.

Maybe I’m an old prude and not accepting of this “trend” but at least have a little bit of pride in your body. You are worth more than a headless picture in tights and a tiny sports bra without any support.

In conclusion, show off your toned arms with tanks #flexfriday. Wear leggings to show off your hot legs #legday. Post workout selfies #sweatyselfie. Take a mirror pic #gymflow. Be proud of your progress #progress. But remember to choose your ensemble carefully.